Nature’s ombré: blood oranges!

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Happy spring! I really can’t believe it’s almost April.

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Aside from my car blowing a tire on the bridge in the pouring rain (why is it that car trouble always comes in multiples?), things are pretty spring-like over here, especially today – the weather is cool, sunny and beautiful.

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We got in a great ridge hike yesterday, despite some really aggressive ridge top wind; the clouds were beautiful and we only got hit with a bit of light drizzle. The colors of everything were so gorgeous – not sure my photos do it justice!

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What a great weekend – quality time with fave human, hiking & healthy dessert! And pizza. Because, well, because pizza! Ha. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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In other news, the skies have been beautiful lately.

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I have a very spring-y dessert for you today – our consensus was that this is a light, spring-like, mellow-in-a-good-way dessert – it certainly disappeared quickly over here!

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The panna cotta is very lightly citrusy, which plays nicely against the cornmeal & meyer lemon crust. Cornmeal is an easy sell with both of us, so no complaints there (except for some extra flossing). We ended up serving this with extra sliced citrus – both of us are really into tart things, but it’s also great on its own. I’d say that I like it with ice cream (because we know I love ice cream in general), but it’s not absolutely necessary, and could easily overwhelm the delicate panna cotta – in which case I’d say to skip it, just this once.

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This is a dessert that sounds complicated but comes together super quickly and requires minimal baking time. The only consideration is allowing enough time to let the gelatin set, but that’s just a small bit of planning ahead – I like to make this the night before and let it set overnight.

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Happy spring baking! Get on those blood oranges before they disappear!

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Citrus Panna Cotta Tart on a Cornmeal Lemon Coconut Crust

Gluten free and refined sugar free. Definitely could be done with coconut milk and dairy free yogurt for a df version! To me, this has the flavor essence of a creamsicle or a 50/50 bar, only lightyears better and not full of processed nastiness. Despite sounding complicated, this comes together quickly & easily, and can be made the night before. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several! A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
zest of 2 small meyer lemons (or 1 large)

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, melted coconut oil, and lemon zest, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cups whole milk, divided
2 tsp vanilla
Scant 1/4 cup maple
zest of two oranges
zest of 1 meyer lemon
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, maple & zest into the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Strain into a large bowl to remove the citrus zest and cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt until well blended. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours or, better yet, overnight.

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Pears and cranberries: the perfect pair

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So normally, I would tell you that this makes great dessert but you should save some and eat it for breakfast, blah blah…

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But really, this time, I’m going to throw that out the window and tell you to just straight up make this for breakfast. You really won’t be sorry – it’s mostly fruit anyway! Hiding under a whole grain, gluten free cream biscuit – what more do you want for breakfast?! I concede that we added eggs, kale, cholula & coffee, and it was a stellar combination, but you do you of course.

This is one of those homely-but-delicious desserts that doesn’t win any awards in the looks department but is undeniably amazing and should be made and loved immediately!

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I really love this for an autumn-winter breakfast-dessert: the cranberries and pears are a perfect pairing; the cornmeal cream biscuits are hands-down one of my favorite things on this planet (I am not alone in this, either); and the whole thing is just so seasonal!

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I leave the skins on the pears, both because I enjoy when my fruit desserts have more texture & body, but also because fiber is good for you! The cranberries soften but still retain their shape and eating them is quite fun, since they pop when you bite them!

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Let’s see. Besides eating this for a stellar breakfast, other things of note lately…

Beautiful skies!

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The worst opera we’ve both ever seen, but in the best company with some awesome seats so it was worth it… as an excellent learning experience and unforgettable evening ;)

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Can anyone else believe December starts tomorrow?! I can’t. Where did the fall months go?? Not that I’m particularly sorry, I do love festive holiday time and all the baking that goes along with it.

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I highly recommend you throw the rule book out the window and make this for breakfast. I am behind you 100% on the wisdom of this action. Happy eating!

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Pear and Cranberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Cream Biscuits and Ginger

Gluten free, whole grain and refined sugar free! The fruit makes an amazing complement to the cornmeal cream biscuits, which are personally one of my absolute favorite things. Easy to make, the most time consuming bit of this is chopping up the pears. But you don’t even have to peel them, so that bit is even easier! Very lightly sweetened, this is perfect for those who love seasonal, fruity desserts. Adapted from both of my earlier cream biscuit cobblers, here & here.

For the filling:

4-7 Bartlett & Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced into small bite-sized pieces*
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 c maple
2 tbsp port
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

*I used about 6; shrinkage will happen to a point so don’t be afraid to use a little more than you would think

For the cobbler:

3/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour, slightly heaping
1 tablespoons maple (or coconut) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Crystalized ginger, chopped; for topping – optional but delicious

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a deep 9-inch square baking dish or deep 9-inch pie pan with butter (I prefer the deepness of the 9″ square – mine is a 2qt baker & it holds tons of fruit!). Cut up pears into large chunks and toss them into the buttered baking dish. Add cranberries and toss to combine. Whisk the maple, port, arrowroot, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon together, pour over the fruit, and toss to coat.

Combine cornmeal, oat flour, rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the cream and vanilla, stirring until just combined; the dough will be very wet. Scoop the dough into 8-ish blobs onto the fruit filling. Sprinkle with maple or coconut sugar if desired. Bake until the fruit bubbles and the juices thicken, and the topping is browned and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Typically I test the biscuit done-ness by sticking a knife between two of them to see if the bottom is done – you’ll know if it isn’t, it will look raw. Stick it back in for about 10 minutes if you find that – mine is typically perfectly done at 55 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or more cream and chopped crystalized ginger; leftovers keep well, covered, in the fridge for a few days.

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Cranberries – not just for sauce!

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Happy almost-Thanksgiving! Hard to believe it’s in less than a week. In keeping with the spirit of all things autumnal and holiday-ish, I bring you a cranberry curd tart! Perfect for dessert but also excellent for breakfast alongside eggs & kale.

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Besides, this color is amazing! Nature is really spectacular when you let her do her thing – no artificial coloring here, obviously!

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This tart is for those who love love love tart things! I really loved the crust – cornmeal and ginger are a match made in heaven.

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In other news, the leaves are gorgeous around here just now, and I move my plants around my apartment to follow the sun. They seem happy about it…

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I don’t think I have too much more for you today; it’s a mellow Sunday and I’m contentedly chill today.

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Enjoy your holiday week!

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Cranberry Curd Tart on a Cornmeal Ginger Crust

Tart, PINK and perfect for fall / holiday dessert. Gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free – this is for those who like tart things! The cranberry curd ended up kind of like mousse – see note; if you’d like it sliceable like a proper tart, use a few extra eggs in the curd. The cornmeal ginger crust provides a naturally not-too-sweet complement to the tartness of the curd & puree. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves 2 ;) kidding – serves 2-6! A Wait are Those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, ginger, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, but leave the oven on.

For the cranberry curd*:

3 cups (12oz) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 c water
1/4 c maple
juice of 1 lemon
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
scant 1 tbsp vanilla
3.5 tbsp coconut oil

*mine was on the runnier side, making my tart more like mousse than a set curd tart. Suggest adding another couple of eggs – unless you’re okay with the mousse texture (it was totally fine taste-wise, just didn’t really hold its shape when sliced)

To make the cranberry curd, place the cranberries and water in a saucepan. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, until you hear the the berries start to pop. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the berries have burst. Cool slightly, then puree with an immersion or regular blender. Strain the mixture into a bowl or large liquid measuring cup, pushing on the solids to extract as much cranberry puree as possible. Yield is about 1.5 c of puree.

Beat the eggs, egg yolks, maple, and lemon juice together in the top of a double boiler. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the warm cranberry puree. Add salt and vanilla. Whisk in coconut oil 1 tbsp at a time until melted. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool. The curd will thicken a little more as it cools – store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze for later.

For the cranberry swirl:

Basically, you’re replicating the earlier part of the cranberry curd, prior to actually making curd with it. If you’re smart (unlike me, who decided to do this later), do it all at once, and reserve some of the cranberry puree.

1.5 c cranberries, rinsed & picked over
1/4 c water
2 tsp maple sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cranberries and water and cook as directed above, for the curd, until the cranberries pop. Strain as before, pressing to extract the liquid. Stir in maple sugar and vanilla.

For assembly:

Bake the crust, as directed above (350 for 15, in case you don’t want to scroll back up). Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then pour in curd. Dollop the cranberry swirl in large dollops over the curd, then use a knife or toothpick to swirl everything together. Bake for 15-20 minutes to set the curd, then remove and let cool completely before serving. I prefer to refrigerate mine for at least half a day before serving to further set the curd. Serve with ice cream (obvs!) and extra cranberry puree. Store any leftovers in the fridge, covered.

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Appropriately autumnal baking

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There is something so soothing about early morning baking. I don’t necessarily choose to bake at 6:30a, but when a workout and work have to happen before I can deliver & eat dessert, baking by necessity becomes an early morning activity. That being said, though, it’s a very meditative way to spend a morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.

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Of course, then of course there’s that moment when you go to put socks on and somehow find some crystallized ginger stuck to your foot… um… no comment.

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It also gives me a great sense of productivity to know I’ve created something before I even leave the house that day – and then add a workout and a highly productive work day and by 6p I feel extraordinary accomplished.

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And THEN I get to eat cake! Ha. Win win, all around. Besides, coming back into my apartment after work, I’m greeted with a waft of OMG THIS CAKE SMELLS AMAZING – always a good sign.

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This cake was well loved by both of us – it is definitely going on the to-make-again list – and I have high standards for that list! The cornmeal/polenta give it great texture – it’s a cross somewhere between cake and cornbread, in the best way possible. It’s amazing with ice cream for dessert, and equally so alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – see exhibit A below.

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Besides that, just in case you needed proof as to how loved this cake was, see exhibit B:

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No crumbs. One (large) slice left – that is after a stint of very productive yard work & leaf raking – that cake had NO chance.

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I can’t believe it’s already November. What happened to October?! Happy autumn!

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Apple Ginger Polenta Cake

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Lightly sweet, sort of like a cross between cake and cornbread – perfect for dessert (served with ice cream!) and breakfast alongside eggs and leafy green things. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves… um… 2! Ha.

1 c almond meal
2/3 c yellow corn meal (I used medium grind)
1/3 c rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/6 c maple sugar
1/6 maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c crystallized ginger chunks, chopped*

*I have also made this with fresh ginger and it’s equally amazing; finely mince peeled, fresh ginger root and add to the batter. The quantity is up to you – I love ginger, so I used a knob probably about 1.5″ long

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper, or do like I did and use strips of parchment paper for easy removal. Be sure to grease the pan first though to prevent any stickage.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple sugar and maple syrup until soft and fluffy. Add in olive oil and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, rice flour, and baking powder. Stir dry into wet. Cut one and a half apples into cubes and thinly slice remaining half. Add the apple cubes and chopped ginger and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out a bit.

Arrange a few apple slices on top of the cake, sprinkle with a bit of maple (or coconut) sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes; mine was perfect at 40. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly during baking, you can always tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.

I stuck mine in the fridge for a few hours of storage, which didn’t hurt it at all. It keeps well on the counter overnight (covered with foil), and makes a ridiculously amazing addition to breakfast the next day!

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IMG_1632Early morning mis en place…

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Swampy Pandowdy. Need I say more?!

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Can I just say that I’ve recently discovered swamp pie, and I will never be the same again.

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Sometimes, the messiest food is by far the best food, and the less-aesthetic desserts are actually the tastiest. And sometimes, they have ridiculous names and it just gets better and better!

Ugly and strange sounding, but delicious. I promise. Would I lead you wrong in the dessert department? I think not.

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Let’s talk verbiage for a minute…

Swamp.

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Best word ever. And also, hilarious (and slightly unappealing I suppose, if you’re normal… unlike me) connotations when we’re talking about food. Side note, I was Bride of Swamp Thing for Halloween one year, and I think it might be one of my more inspired costumes to date.

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Typically, it’s pies that are swamped (i.e. have cream poured into them so not only are you getting pie, but you’re also getting this delicious mash up of cream and custard and pie and all the goodness, all at once), but since I’d never made a pandowdy, I decided to swamp that instead.

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Swampy pandowdy.

What a great combination of words!!! Swampy pandowdy. Which sounds potentially unappealing but I promise it isn’t.

Pandowdies are basically pie’s less fussy cousin. Or maybe they could be considered pie’s artsy, bohemian cousin who comes to visit once a year, bakes, does art things and wears colorful, ridiculous jewelry and lots of scarves and… omg that’s me! I’ve apparently found my spirit food. Or food totem? As in, if I was a food, I’d be a pandowdy. Low maintenance, boho weirdo… that sounds about right. Actually, I’d probably be a swampy pandowdy because that’s even weirder and more awesome. But, y’all like me for my weirdness, right?! So it’s fine. I’m at peace with having my spirit food be a swampy pandowdy.

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Though the origin of the word is technically unknown, I’ve read the theory is that pandowdies apparently get their name from “dowdy-ing” its looks by mucking up the crust. I just enjoy playing with my food, so you’re not going to hear any complaints from this corner.

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AND THEN not only that, but you get to pour a bunch of cream in there, which is an experiment in and of itself if/when you realize you don’t actually own a funnel, and careful pouring is going to have to do.

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It’s fun! It’s delicious and makes great dessert and breakfast (especially breakfast). And there are great words involved…

Happy pandowdy-ing!

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Cherry, Peach and Raspberry Swampy Pandowdy

Refined sugar free, lightly sweet, whole grain, and perfect for the late summer stone fruit season! I’m all over the stone fruit lately… Pandowdies are like pies, only way less fussy and much more messy and fun. They’re kind of like pie’s artistic, bohemian cousin (that’ll be me, later in life… oh wait. It probably already is) – only a top crust, and you get to mess it up and play with your food! Besides that, I love love love cream, so what better excuse to eat some than to flood your pie? Swamp pies are a thing. Also, I love the name. Pandowdy crust lightly adapted from Food52, here and the swamp business is adapted also from Food52, here! I didn’t do much to the crust, the recipe was pretty much perfect as is. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves… several. 2 if you eat it for breakfast too ;)

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For the crust:

  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice water

Add whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sea salt, and lemon zest to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in butter, toss to coat, and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas (I prefer to use my fingers for this since I a) like the feeling of having my hands in flour and b) have greater control over butter-chunk sizing). Add ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just begins to hold together when pinched between two fingers. It’ll look a little crumbly, but that’s fine.

Toss the dough out onto a clean counter or wax paper (I prefer the counter method; less fuss), and use a bench scraper to gather the dough into a rough rectangle. Using the heel of your hand, smear the last fourth of dough away from you, against the counter. Repeat until you smear all the dough (see? playing with your food!), then gather the dough back into a rectangle and repeat, smearing it all away from you. The dough should be cohesive by this point, so gather it up into a disc, wrap in plastic, and stick it in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the filling:

  • 3 c cherries (mine were Bing cherries; I think Ranier would be awesome here too)
  • 2 c peaches, sliced
  • 1.5 c raspberries*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • egg white & 1 tbsp coconut sugar for glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 c heavy cream

*I used some that had been frozen; if you do as well, bake them straight from frozen instead of letting them thaw beforehand

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, peaches and raspberries. Add vanilla, arrowroot, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine. Pour all this goodness into your pie plate or skillet of choice – 9″ pie plates are fine as long as they’re the deeper variety; a 10″ cast iron skillet would also work well.

Preheat the oven to 400. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here, like I said – pandowdies are pie’s unfussy cousin), and lift the dough onto the fruit. Tuck in the edges, leaving a rim of dough between the edge of the pie dish and the fruit – I crimped mine because I’m an overachiever and I also had extra dough, but no need to do that. Make a few slits for steam to vent, brush the top with egg white and dust with coconut sugar. Pop the whole beautiful thing into the oven for 40 minutes; best if you line the rack beneath with foil or a large baking sheet – the juices runneth over! In a liquid measuring cup with a spout, measure the cream and let it sit at room temp.

Once you hit the 40 minute mark, take the pandowdy out, and use a sharp knife to break up the crust, thus ‘dowdy-ing’ its looks (now begins the really fun part). Carefully pour the cream into the new breaks in the crust, filling each – some of the cream will pool under the crust, and some will sneak out on top, which is fine. Just be careful not to drown the whole crust! Go slow, and fill each vent/break. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cream is just set and barely jiggles in the center. Let cool completely before serving; it will be gloriously juicy and delicious so might I suggest serving it in bowls? Ice cream is… optional, sort of, if you’re out of cream; otherwise, this can be served even swampier with extra cream poured over the top. You do you!

Store any leftovers (who are you) covered in the fridge, but make sure to save some for breakfast. You’ll thank me later!

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My cats are here to show me the way to inner bliss

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Let’s talk about cats.

Mark Twain once said, “Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat” (Notebook, 1894)… and how true this is. Cats are such enlightened little furry beings—we discussed this in my last post because Nosh definitely stares at me with his third eye. Definitely. What cat likes banana bread, lentil-apple sandwiches, and butternut squash pancakes unless he’s a guru?! Right. See?

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My cats share tidbits of enlightened wisdom with me every day. For instance… Obviously, inner peace can be achieved easily by a five hour nap on the heater vent, followed by a massive stretch and a round of kibble hockey… and then the search for a warm human to nap on for the next hour. And… repeat. Ohmmm. Inner peace.

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They also are excellent reminders to live in the moment. Mine always do. Picture this: I am cooking. In the kitchen. There are two pairs of eyes staring at me incessantly. Those eyes are very clearly saying: “In this moment, I want snacks. My kibble is in the laundry room. Why aren’t you walking over there? Snacks are for this moment. And then for the moment a moment from now. And then you will let me outside, and I will eat some bugs in a very enlightened manner to illustrate the interconnectedness of the universe”. You see how wise they are? It’s mind boggling.

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In the next life I’m coming back as a cat. A real cat, not just as a really bendy human with cat friends. Because that way I can achieve inner peace by napping for the majority of the day, eating a few bugs, and then finding a human to sleep on. That sounds like a pretty fabulous proposition, doesn’t it?!

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My cats do yoga and have kitty chakras. It’s okay, you’re allowed to be jealous.

In the short term, feel free to make this pizza and achieve a small measure of enlightened gastronomical wisdom. In a pinch (and in your lack of wise cat friends), it’ll do.

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Vegan Pizza on a Pumpkin Crust

This pizza surprised me! It came together quite fast, with things I had lurking around in the pantry. It was perfect for lunch and leftovers. The crust is gluten free (and can be nut free), made with pumpkin puree. The sauce is veggietastic and delicious—and vibrantly green! Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free (could be nut free with all cornmeal and no almond flour). Both crust and sauce loosely adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+4 tbsp water
  • 3 c pumpkin puree (2 cans worth)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/8 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1.25 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 c raw spinach, packed
  • 1.5 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt

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Preheat oven to 425, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In  a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 4 tbsp water. Set aside for the time being. In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, almond flour, cornmeal, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp flaxseed, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir in soaked flax. Spread the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making a roughly oblong-type shape (or not, whatever floats your boat) with edges a bit thicker than the middle. Bake for just about 30 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are just beginning to brown (you should be able to peel it off the parchment paper).

While the crust is baking, make the sauce! In a food processor, whirl together soaked cashews , spinach, peas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, basil, and salt. I highly suggest tasting and adjusting as you go, it’s much more fun that way. Puree until the sauce is chunk-free and smooth.

When the crust is done, spread sauce around evenly, and top with veggies of choice. I used sautéed arugula, bell peppers, and zucchini, but use whatever you have on hand. Bake for another 5 minutes, then let cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving. I found that a sprinkle of salted, roasted cashews added just the right crunch and made a nice garnish.

Leftovers store well and taste equally delicious the next day! I stored mine in a glass continuer in the fridge.

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Soup is just an excuse for bread, don’t try to deny it!

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Soooooop.

And bread.

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Because obviously you can’t have soup without some bready, carby side dish. We all know that soup is really an excuse for bread, let’s be real here.

But mmmmm, soup. I do love it (but I DO NOT love photographing it. Ugh). ESPECIALLY now that I have this fabby immersion blender!! Which means that I can dispense with all that silliness of attempting to blend soup in a food processor (no, I don’t own a normal blender), which is a dumb idea as a) soup is hot. Hot things expand and b) food processors aren’t watertight (rude). So instead of soup going slightly all over the counter, now I can just bust out the trusty immersion blender, stick it in the pot of soup buzz buzz buzz and low and behold!! Creamy soup, no mess required. Genius.

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Also. I bought a spiralizer. Possibly the BEST decision I have ever made. And also possibly the most fun kitchen utensil ever created.

See?

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Reeeeealllyyyy looooooong zucchini noodles! So much fun to play with. Obviously avoided if you do the smart thing and cut the zucchini in half first, but why spoil your fun? Incredibly long noodles are so much more entertaining. And delicious, especially when you top them with bison pasta sauce and other delicious things. Unfortunately, it was slightly too delicious and there went that before I managed to take a picture of anything besides the noodles. Whoops! Next time.

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Anyway. Let’s get seasonal! Hellooooo autumn, you’re my favorite. The day I made this, I ate three sources of beta carotene in one day. No eye problems for me!
This soup is very easy, comes together in a snap, and is (naturally) delicious. The muffins are awesome too, likewise easy and delicious. In fact, if you time it right, you can bake them while the squash is simmering, then blend your soup and have everything hot at the same time. Wheee!

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Ginger-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4, with leftovers. Recipe inspired by Whole Foods, here! Gluten free, can be vegan with veggie broth.

  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (yield: 4 c diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or diced
  • 3.5 c veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk (out of the can)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pepitas, for garnish!

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in onion, carrot, and cucumbers, and let cook until the onion is translucent (about 5ish minutes). Add ginger, let cook a few minutes more. Finally, add stock, squash, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the squash is fork-tender (about 30 minutes). Once squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. An upright blender is fine too, just make sure the soup is cool enough.
Garnish with pepitas just before serving!

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

My yield was 10, in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins. I never fill them all the way, but these muffins came out a totally normal size. High in vitamin A, low fat, refined sugar free, and whole grain! Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 1 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil).

Whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, almond milk, yogurt, melted butter and pumpkin puree. Combine wet into dry, mixing just to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 15 minutes (a tester should come out clean, and the tops should be slightly browned). Let cool for a few before turning out onto a cooling rack.
I’m sure these keep well, but ours didn’t last that long!